Sometimes life is troubling and the path we must travel becomes arduous. The last thing we think about is being thankful because it’s just too hard and we want to take the easy route.
It’s hard to be thankful when the roof leaks and rain water pours through the ceiling ruining your carpet and furniture.
It’s hard to be thankful when yellow jackets invade your attic and eat a hole through another part of your ceiling.
It’s hard to be thankful when your six-month-old refrigerator’s freezer stops working for the third time.
It’s hard to be thankful when your not-so-old microwave dies on you.
It’s hard to be thankful for job losses than become the norm instead of the exception.
It’s hard to be thankful for decisions that go against you instead of for you.
It’s hard to be thankful when the price of everything goes up and your income goes down.
It’s hard to be thankful when a family member or friend receives a serious health diagnosis.
It’s hard to be thankful for car brakes that go out.
It’s hard to be thankful for circumstances that break your heart and drive you to your knees in prayer.
It’s hard to be thankful when tragedy strikes or nature is destructive or the world feels out of control.
It’s just plain hard to be thankful during some of the seasons of life.
But as a friend said recently to me as we discussed less than pleasant situations in life, “We were never promised a rose garden, were we?”
We will have thorns amidst the roses in our garden of life and often we don’t appreciate the loveliness of the roses because we’re stuck in the thorns.
Sometimes the troubles are minor, sometimes they are so major, they rock our little rowboat paddling along in the sea of life knocking the oars right out of our hands.
Yet even when I’m set adrift in an ocean of difficult situations or pricked by thorns of trouble every way that I turn, I am called to be thankful. Why? I’m a believer. My faith is in Jesus Christ and He stated the obvious for those of us who have thick skulls and don’t quite ‘get it’ the first time.
In this world, you will have trouble.
Notice He didn’t say:
In this world, you will have smooth sailing.
In this world, you will have good times always.
In this world, you will never cry.
In this world, you will never be weary…or unhappy…or depressed…or discouraged…or angry…or sick…or heartbroken.
No, He laid it on the line. In this world you WILL (emphasis mine) have trouble. He warned his disciples this in John 16:33 when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.”
All too often we dwell on our problems instead of the promise Jesus gave us, a promise of hope. Because in the last part of that verse Jesus said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
If Jesus’ disciples were warned of trouble and theirs were mammoth compared to mine, then why on earth would I think I (a lowly sinner saved by His grace) would be any different? Why would I be immune to troubles great and small?
I’m not. As each difficulty comes its way day after day, I will continue again and again to remind myself of the passage of scripture that sustains my sanity:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 New International Version (NIV)
No, I’m not an idiot when I say I will rejoice always even when I don’t feel like it (and believe me, there are way too many times when I want to kick and scream instead!).
No, I’m not immune to difficulties when I give thanks in ALL circumstances.
I’m just trying my best to follow God’s will for my life and believe His promises because His Word is Truth.
So I will be thankful.
I will be thankful that I have a home with a roof over my head.
I will be thankful for someone brave enough to tangle with yellow jackets and remove their huge nest from my attic even if I did have to pay him a lot to do so.
I will be thankful the store where I purchased my refrigerator replaced the dud with a new one and better yet, I will be thankful I have refrigeration for my food at all.
I will be thankful I have the means to cook my family’s food in my comfy, modern kitchen without slaving over a hot fire outside.
I will be thankful to the God that provides even when job losses come.
I will be thankful that I have a God who cares and loves me when it seems things just don’t go my way.
I will be thankful that my needs are met, my tummy is full, and I have clean water to drink.
I will be thankful for procedures and treatments that prolong and save lives and health insurance to help pay the costs.
I will be thankful for warning signals that car brakes are in need of repair.
I will be thankful that I can cry out to a God who hears my wails for help, answers me, and never leaves me.
I will be thankful that I have fellow human beings to love and support.
And yes, I will be thankful even for the difficult seasons of life because that’s just it…I will be thankful for life.
The reason is because my faith in Christ gives me hope and that’s more than enough to be thankful for.
“We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning.” ~Albert Barnes